Five ways to wear a ‘dupatta’

Fusing Indian and western style


April 26, 2017

/ By / New Delhi

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It’s surprising how a simple piece of cloth can be used in multiple ways. From a boho headband, to a summer beach dress, one can experiment with their style in a number of ways by using the traditional Indian ‘dupatta’.

Dupatta’s in Indian culture is conventionally restricted to traditional attire and social events, its usage is limited to wearing it around one’s neck, over the shoulders or wrapped around one’s head. While some wear it as a mark of modesty, others use it as a veil to show respect for their elders, but for most they simply stick to the traditional style as it is part of the ensemble outfit commonly worn in the country.

An unstitched piece of long cloth, simple and elaborately designed variants of which throng Indian markets, dupatta is rather creatively worn nowadays and makes for some unique fashion trends. Coupled with western apparel, it can be modified to make some cool statements, particularly during the summers when the dupatta, or the chunni, chunri, odhni , chundadi, as it is called in different Indian cultures, comes to the rescue against the sun.

Wrap a colourful dupatta around the waist


One can also experiments with the knots they choose to tie

The ensemble of a crisp white shirt and blue denims is a classic and an all time favourite for many. But a little experimentation doesn’t hurt. For those who like staying true to the good ol’ style yet want to give it an edgy and quirky look, knot a small dupatta around your waist instead of a regular waist belt. A delicate, free-flowing fabric will make the casual ensemble stand out while giving it an Indian touch. You can also tie it around a skirt, a dress, an overcoat or any other ensemble that requires a belt.



Drape it as turban


Embellished turbans are now a common trend on ramps at fashion shows in India

Turbans are a popular head gear in South Asia. While for the most part it is synonymous with the head-gear that most Sikh men adorn, it is also dominantly seen in African culture where mostly women wear it.  Unlike conventionally thought, women in India adorn turbans as well. Sikh women, who follow the same principles as the men of their community, wear the turban and so do Marathi women, as part of their traditional dress from the western state of Maharashtra. In more modern contexts, however, designers and fashion stylists have given new dimensions to the turban’s original simple style by experimenting with the draping patterns and by embedding embellishments on them. Suave in their style, these turbans make for a rather bold style statement and can be paired with casual outfits as well. The experimentation with ensembles and draping patterns is not limited and one can also choose to carry it with any other outfit as well. A turban in bandhani (tie and dye) and block print looks more traditional and reflects the style from the state of Gujarat, where the fabric art comes from. All you really need is a dupatta and the desire to experiment with your style.

Tie it in your hair


Use a small and light-weight dupatta for tying around your hair

Summers call for carefree hairstyles. A braid, a bun, a high raised ponytail are some basics that are simple and don’t take much time to achieve the desired look. But why keep the hair looking plain when we can style them with a dupatta for a playful boho look. Try tying it loosely around your bun or ponytail or braid it along with your hair. This will not only make for a cool fashion statement but will also keep the hair tucked in their place, which is especially useful on a sunny day when the last thing you want is hair sticking to your face. Also, sometimes all it takes to get through those bad hair days is a stylish dupatta. Turn it into a bandana or wear it like a headband and you’re good to go.

Wear it as a skirt


Draping styles can always be experimented with but a simple, hassle-free one goes like this

The length and weight of a dupatta may wary. While some are light enough to carry as a head scarf, others are long and voluminous enough to be wrapped around like a skirt, albeit an Indian style skirt. Dupattas with mirrors strewn on them or fringes hanging loosely make for vibrant skirts.




Or as a beach dress


A drape, some knots, some pins and voila! A dress perfect for the beach

If experimented well, a dupatta can be styled into almost any modern western outfit. If draped correctly, it can also be worn as a beach dress.  Drape it artfully and creatively and it can be turned into a sarong or a breezy, flowy dress apt for a day at the beach.


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